Harden Not My Heart

To the gentleman at daily Mass who repeatedly shoots disapproving glances our way, even when my children are behaving (almost) as piously as saints, please pray for me.

I want to be at the table of the Lord as much as you do, but it’s not always easy for me to be there. You may think my toddler’s constant babbling only disrupts you, but even though they are happy sounds, they can grate on me as well, especially since I hear jabbering all day long, not just during Mass. Please pray that I don’t allow my kids or worries about what people think of my kids or the lady behind me who can’t stop coughing, or any other distraction keep me from fully receiving Christ.

I also ask for your prayers for my children. They are the future of the Church. How can I expect them to come to know and love Jesus and to appreciate the gift of Mass if I leave them at home just so I can have a more peaceful and uplifting experience?

I know you heard my toddler shouting, “Mommy! Mommy!” You looked back at us and shook your head. I’m sorry she’s so vocal. Sometimes I wish little ones came with a mute button, but then I wouldn’t have heard her when she pointed to the Crucifix and said, “Jesus!”

Above all, I ask for your prayers that I don’t harden my heart to attempting to go to weekly Mass on occasion. I worry too much about what you and others think. Even though our dear priest on this particular day personally thanked the noisy and joyful children (meaning my toddler) for being there to celebrate the Mass, I can’t get your critical looks out of my head. Please pray that I’ll let it go and just smile kindly in return.

And, please my dear brother in Christ, keep in mind the words of a wise priest who told his congregation that construction can be noisy and that children are Christians under construction. I’m laying the foundation for what I hope is a lifetime of love for the Church, and right now it can be a little noisy. I’m sorry for that and will do my best to keep the distractions my kids bring along with them to a minimum. But when they get fidgety or when my 20-month-old begins to “sing” (yes, that high-pitched squealing is her way of singing), will you help me in revealing Christ’s love?

Thank you for your prayers. I need them. I hope to see you at weekly Mass again.



katesig Harden Not My Heart

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13 Responses to “Harden Not My Heart”
  1. Kris says:

    When are you going to Daily Mass again? I’m meeting you there so I can glare back on your behalf! I know that’s not very Christian of me, but really.

  2. Jessica says:

    Kate,

    I love, “construction can be noisy and that children are Christians under construction”. That’s awesome and I’ll use it when Landon is older and making a ruckus during service!

  3. Modern Catholic Mom says:

    That was awesome. Sometimes I just wish everyone could appreciate the fact that we are trying to bring our kids to DAILY Mass…. and teach them how to pray…. and it is work! Thanks for that blog.
    Tara

  4. Mary says:

    There was a family with a very noisy child that I couldn’t help but watch at Mass. I found out that the Mom thought I was being disapproving, but after I got to know her I explained to her that her son reminded me of mine years ago and I loved to hear him at Mass because it brought back so many memories. Maybe your man is reliving the memories.

  5. Autumn says:

    Thank you for this post. As a mom to one, very loudly gracious breastfeeding 6-month old and a wild, wonderful 4-year old, my husband and I get our share of looks and glares and disapproving sighs during mass. All I can say is that we’re trying our best and so are our kids. We know in our heart of hearts that the Lord wants us all to be there, sharing in the mass together.

  6. Aubrey says:

    We’ve been very blessed at our parish to be received with grace and tolerance from our other parishioners.

    Our parish is made up of young families or of families who were once young and are remembering. Our pastor is very gentle, kind, and loves children–even the noisy ones.

    We currently have a talkative 21 month old whose vocabulary now includes the words JESUS and AMEN which are never spoken quietly. But even when spoken with gusto and said during the quiet parts of mass, I’ve never heard a sweeter sound than JESUS and AMEN coming from the mouth of my toddler.

    Well said, Kate!

    :)

  7. Heidi Hess Saxton says:

    Oh, how well I remember those days … Even the “cry room” could not contain their joyful noise (Christopher would routinely slip away and kick the glass, the little rat.) Now people I don’t know by name come up and tell me how the kids have changed… How GOOD they are!

    There was one man (an older Italian gentleman) who seemed particularly off-put by their noise. Once he actually turned to look at us, then got up to change pews. So we pulled a “love ambush,” and started going out of our way to smile and greet him before each Mass. Today he smiles and says good morning when he sees us coming.

    There’s a REASON Jesus said, “SUFFER to let the little children come unto me, and forbid them not. For such is the kingdom of heaven.”

    It’ll get better … promise!

  8. Kate Wicker says:

    Heidi, that’s what we’re trying to do – a “love ambush.” This man is always at daily Mass. When he first started giving us looks, I’d just feel uncomfortable or get mad at my kids (not fair to them when they’re not even making a noise). But last time I decided to smile warmly at him. He stared at me in disbelief and then quickly turned around. He looks at any kid that happens to be at Mass and just shakes his head over and over. I needed to write this because I started to really not like him for being so hostile to kids. But seeing everyone’s comments and praying about it is helping to “harden not my heart.”

    God bless everyone!

  9. Sarah Reinhard says:

    Dear, dear Kate, this is lovely. Thank you for sharing it and keep the positive attitude.

    Oh, and maybe bring along some snackies for that guy. Maybe he was just hungry. :)

    Praying for you, sister in Christ!

  10. Lerin says:

    We are lucky that Fr Troy goes out of his way to remind the Daily Mass attendees how happy he is to see moms with young children at Daily Mass, and he often asks them to pray for us! :)

    You know what I want to do? Remind people who shake their heads to see children in Mass that if we make them feel unwelcome and unwanted at Mass as little ones, how can we expect them to come to church as they grow into adults? Would YOU want to go for weekly visits as an adult to the place where you were rejected as a child?

    I take my kids to Daily Mass whenever we can… and they have gotten SO much better behavior-wise in Mass in the last six months. Part of it may be the younger two are growing up… the other part may be that I’ve freamined firm with discipline no matter where we are, and they finally understand they can’t get away with “more” at Mass. ;) But you know… another part may be my change in attitude. As we’ve talked about before, Mass isn’t just for “me” right now.

    If one of my kids are truly being rude, crying, or NOT “joyful” noisy… I escort them to the cry room. But this is rare. Most of the time, I deal with singing “Alleluia” at the wrong time, waving “Hi Jesus!”, or “Mom, I love you!” at random times. For the most part, the girls color while Ben toddles back and forth in the aisle and hands us our missals and takes them away. :)

    Funny… I can’t pay attention to the people around us (though I hope they aren’t disapproving or scowling!) because my focus is always on helping the kids or being so happy that I can actually payattention to the Homily that morning. ;)

  11. Jen says:

    Kate,

    Hang in there. When I started bringing my 3 small children to daily mass once a week 18 months ago, I got lots and lots of those looks.

    As the kids have gotten used to daily mass, as they’ve gotten a little older (my once 20-month old is now over 3 years), and as we’ve gotten to know the people at daily mass personally, it has gotten so much better.

    We, too, had a couple that GLARED at us every week. Two weeks ago, after mass, the man came over to our kids and started talking to them in a Donald Duck voice. Now they run up and give him a big smile and hello when they see him.

    It’s good for ALL of us when there are small children at mass… for us moms, for our kids, and for those of us who have forgotten that kids reflect Christ more clearly than anyone else!

  12. Heather says:

    Kate, you know that there will always be “an old man” that goes about his grumpy ways. Not even the shelter of God’s house can keep the grumpies out. You’re doing the right thing. But why is it that the one look of disdain overtakes the many looks of joy?

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